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Thursday, November 24, 2016

46th review of "Trump the Press"

Happy Thanksgiving. No turkeys here, You'll have to go elsewhere.

Mary Pat Campbell wrote a humbling review of "Trump the Press" at Amazon. As is custom, I re-post it here:
The Saga of How the Pundits Got It Wrong
This book is a must-have for potential pundits and forecasters, even if one operates outside the political sphere. It covers Donald Trump's journey from his before his announcement to run for President in 2015 up to win he wins the Republican nomination in mid-2016. And while the author, Don Surber, describes his book like so:
"This book is really a novel. The hero is imperfect, is discounted, is mocked, is opposed, is given up on, and is the winner in the end. The hero is the leader and the role model for his followers."
I found this book is really about all the onlookers commenting on Trump's journey over that period, and how so many of them got it catastrophically wrong. The ones that really made me wonder were those who kept doubling-down each time they were proven wrong, even as new information told them they really needed to question their assumptions.
Just like the movie Titanic, you know how the story ends (non-spoiler alert: the ship sinks), so you may think this book would be tedious, especially given it is so quote-heavy. The same names of commenters pop up repeatedly, and then often these talking heads spout the same worn-out metaphors and dead imagery.
But I got hooked rapidly -- it's not just Surber's pacing, which is brisk, but his organization of the narrative. There are sections of thematic unity (the chapter "Peak Trump" was my favorite here) and sections of chronological narrative; Surber keeps tight focus, making his points pithily and then moving on.
I got two very important lessons from this book:
1. Don't be too certain when you're really not. It's okay to admit "I don't know", and to revise when proven wrong.
2. In the face of uncertainty, go seeking new information; don't keep dipping back into the same pools because it won't expand your knowledge.
I'm really looking forward to Surber's sequel, and given that it seems many of the covered pundits still haven't learned their lessons, I bet he will be able to expand this into a continuing series throughout Trump's presidency.
That is the 45th five-star review. The 46th was four star. I am stunned by the reaction.

The sequel is in its re-write stage. It's a complete. While I completed the sequel six days after Cruz surrendered, I am less time restricted.


"Trump the Press" skewers media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. I use my deadliest weapon: their own words. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.


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  2. Happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
    Those bits of advice along with the peak Trump bit reminded me of where I was many years ago. I became a little bit of a but about energy during the Arab oil embargo. Almost all of my school writings and science presentations and fair projects revolved around energy and its side effects. While other kids were out chasing poon I was reading about energy requirements for economic growth, thermal inversions, greenhouse gas effects, solar, nuclear, and alternative energies. Popular science, Scientific American, Mother Earth News, Amory Lovins, Barry Commoner, you name it. I was a sponge. One book I picked up in 1977 was a summary of a conference at MIT, some world alternative energy summit. The main theme was that by 1985 peak oil would be achieved and that it would be downhill from there. I think this conference was behind the pessimism of Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech. The funny thing is that it had the opposite effect on me. I had read the report of the Club of Rome, Limits to Growth, and was beginning to realize that the academic doomsayers were wrong. I knew nothing of the bet between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich at the time. I simply began to notice that what had begun as science was turning into propaganda. There were things that were happening that we were being told to ignore. The same thing continues today. We have a rotten establishment that needs to be subjected to the same kind of deconstruction that it used to get into power and replace it with something more compatible with a decent society. You are a part of that deconstruction. I am thankful for you and your efforts.

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